Monday, 9 May 2022

HR27 Small Goods-Making a Start.


HR27 Coupling and connecting rods have limited clearance due to the outer skirt/valence.

I have made a start, as you can see in the above photo, on a Small Goods or "18 Class" engine, No. 27 in fact, in the form that it was rebuilt by Jones in 1891. This will be built without the aid of a kit; there is no kit for this engine though an etched sheet was used as an aid to build the tender, which is the subject of an earlier blog posting of 7/10/21 entitled "A tender in search of a loco". I will rely as usual on Laurie Griffin's castings to complete the model. 

The initial difficulty I came up against was fixing the position of the slide-bars on the frames, so that the connecting rods ran freely, and ensuring that these parts, along with the coupling rods were slim enough to fit inside the deep outer valence or skirt. This was achieved by a process of trial and error and by gradually slimming down and reducing the parts to fit with files; there is not much room. The wheels require little side play as the wheel-base is only 15ft and this helps matters.

My reference drawings, from Peter Tatlow's "Highland Locomotives" show that there is space to fit an M1833 motor and flywheel inside the body shell, which should make for a powerful little locomotive. I have modified the drawing on pg. 20 to include the changes made by Jones when he rebuilt the class.   

Fitting the motor is the next step, then weight will be added in the ash-pan between the wheels and springing will be arranged for the front axle to make a viable mechanism. 

Thursday, 7 April 2022

16-Ton Loco Coal Wagon, aid to scratchbuilding.

Pete has produced another 7mm scale "aid to scratchbuilding", the sixth in his series of Highland Railway wagons and displaying a higher standard of detail than ever. The new parts are resin sides and ends for a HR 16-Ton Loco Coal Wagon. They are based on the drawing and photos on page 153/4 of Peter Tatlow's "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons", which modellers building the wagon will find invaluable.

Parts need from the trade to complete the wagon are listed below. A few parts for the brake gear will need to be made by the modeller himself from metal sheet and strip. Construction suggestions and photos to help are also included below.

This is what you get; inside and outside shown. 

Construction complete, full interior detail is included. I braced the inner with Plastikard with the intention of adding a coal load. 

There are brakes on one side only, Drummond's patent brake system was fitted to these wagons so they can be applied from both sides. 

The resin sides are available from the author, contact...

017687 71302

07342 637 813

One set of castings £20.00 + post £1.45; two sets are post free: three or more sets attract a discount of 10% post free.

Parts to Complete.

W-irons...Slater's ref: 71550

Wheels are 3' 2" with 10 solid spokes. I used...Slater's 3' 1" with 8 plain spokes ref: 7121.

Couplings are CPL type to fit the hole in the draw-plate.

Buffers...Invertrain...HR 3-bolt single web. ref: FO26

Springs and axle-boxes...Invertrain.  

Transfers...HMRS Sheet 20.

Construction Details.

On the bottom of the solebar sits a short transverse tube, which takes the brake handle and cross-rod of the Drummond both-sides brake gear. This is the fixed axle, the rocking axle is at the other end of the under-frame.

The "v" hangers are double and are soldered to metal plates for stability, the outer one is inlayed into the solebar. Metal parts were made from nickle silver strip and sheet with additional brass rivets.

The brake handle connects to the cross-rod, the upward extension of the handle mounts a pin which engages into the slot at the end of the brake-lever

Main body colour is Precision P436 Caledonian Wagon Oxide. Transfers are HMRS Sheet 20, note the number is also on the end. Wagon number plate on the solebar is printed on paper and then glued to Plastikard. 

Wood adhesive is mixed with real coal on a Plastikard base to make the load which is glued into the wagon just below the top edge. Model based on photos on pg. 154 of Peter Tatlow's "HR Carriages and Wagons".


Friday, 25 March 2022

Drummond 20-ton 6-wheel Goods Brake Van.

Pete's latest addition to his range of "aids to scratch-building" is an etched sheet in 0.45mm nickle- silver to build the 20-ton 6-wheel brake van introduced into service with the Highland Railway by Peter Drummond in 1909. It was felt that an etched sheet was more appropriate than resin castings for this larger project. The drawing on page 183 of Peter Tatlow's book "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons" will prove indispensable when building the model. The etched sheet includes the sides and ends and some of the parts that are difficult to make yourself; simpler parts, such as the roof and the solebars, are left to the individual modeler to make from n/s sheet. Brass strip is used to represent the beading that surrounds the various panels on doors sides and ends, this is soldered into etched slots. Castings, wheels and other parts needed to complete the van are listed below. The later version of this van, with a steel under-frame, introduced in 1918, can also be built from the etched sheet. 

Drummond 20-ton brake van No. 21, one of only two photos of these vans in Highland livery.
Photo courtesy of  Am Baile.

Drummond 20-ton brake van built by the author from the etches shown below.

Etched sheet comprises; body sides and ends, brakes, roof lookout, end steps and supports, corner brackets, coupling plate and door drop-lights. Half-etched locating holes on the front of the etch are designed to be drilled for the insertion of brass rivets. Rivets on corner brackets and step supports can be treated similarly or pressed out with a riveting tool. 

Parts Needed to Complete the Model.

Wheels: Slater's 7123 3' 7" 8 Split-Spoke Coach Wheel.
Lamp irons: Slater's 7161.
W-irons: Slater's 71544
Metal sheet, wire and sections: Eileen's Emporium (See details in construction notes below).
Buffers F026/Roof fittings/Axleboxes HR2: Invertrain Model Railways 
Footboard Supports (x16): Sans Pareil / CSP Models. These are brass castings designed by myself to fit the model ref: L&F61 footboard support brackets
Couplings: CPL Products.
Springs and "J" hangers. White metal castings (x6) available from myself.
Brake cross-trees: LGM.

Etched Sheet is available from Pete Armstrong/Border Miniatures @ £45.00 plus post at cost.
2nd class £1.99, 1st class £2.39, Signed for £3.79
017687 71302
07342 637 813

The rear of the buffer beam is made from "L" section brass, the hollow beam is then filled with Milliput. The solebars could also be made from "L" section material though mine are cut and bent from n/s sheet.

Construction Notes.

A good deal of work is carried out "in the flat" before the sides and ends are soldered together. Rivet holes should be drilled along the bottom edge of the sides and on the buffer beam to take brass dome head rivets. The corner angle-irons and step supports can be treated similarly or rivets can be pressed out from the rear with a press. Holes for handrails need to be marked out and drilled after the 1 x 0.5mm section brass strip has been soldered into 0.25 deep etched grooves on the sides, doors and ends.
Note that three separate handrails form a cluster either side of the doors. Lamp-irons, steps and their supports, coupling plates, door handles and drop-lights can be added at this stage too.

Both brass rivets and pressed ones are in evidence here. Battening of 1 x 0.5mm section is  is in place.
The sides overlap the ends. 

Three handrails are grouped tightly either side of the doors, they are mounted on the battening.

Roof lookout in place. Stretchers soldered at either end of van; "L" section brass section forms the buffer beam inner.

Roof lookout sides are in position, I have extended them a little, the lookout roof is bent to shape and positioned next.

The van ready for the roofs.

The lookout roof and the main roof are soldered flush with the sides, the end of the main roof overhangs the van end.


Note the 1 x 1mm brass section soldered along the edge of the roofs.

The Under-Frame.

The brake van superstructure is a separate unit to the under-frame, the two are screwed together. I did not build in any suspension, only a little side-play on all wheels and some vertical movement on the center axle, which slides in a brass horn-guide in the w-iron. The brakes were soldered to a backing sheet of 0.45 n/s then cut out, tidied and drilled for the cross braces. The end of the backing was left long then bent back at right angles to form a foot to help position the brakes.

The "J" hangers and springs, seen in the photos, are cast as a single unit in white metal from my own moulds. I would prefer brass castings and am investigating the possibility. The hangers and springs can be fabricated from parts available from Laurie Griffin, 36-028 6ft coach springs x 6, which can be shortened to 5ft. Also useful are 36-026 "C" hangers x 12. 

Structure of the under-frame showing brakes, linkages and white metal "J" hangers and springs; the lower footboard is not yet in position. Slots need to be cut in the upper footboard for the lower footboard supports and any additional detail included by the model maker. The back view of the silhouetted brake shows the foot formed by bending back the backing layer. 

Brakes, cross-trees and linking arm are shown; lower footboard is in place. Note the double-thickness brakes with rivet detail.

The prototype end footboard support is mounted on the rear of the buffer beam at right angles to the solebar. I have soldered it to the solebar, as seen here, otherwise it would lock the underframe to the van body. The footboard supports are cast from my own pattern by CSP to fit the situation (see parts list). White metal J-hangers and spring casting available from myself.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Clearance Sale.

Clearance Sale of Highland Railway Resin Wagon Sides and Ends in 7mm scale. 

All Remaining Castings are Reduced to Clear, while stocks last.

All 7mm scale resin wagon sides and ends are now £15.00 per set. Postage is £1.50 for 1 set and post free for 2 sets or more.

In stock currently are...

1. Drummond 8-Ton 2-plank Ballast Wagon.

2. 7-Ton Swivel Cradle Timber Wagon.

3. Jones 15 foot 4-plank Open Wagon HR d.19

4. Drummond Open Fish Truck with drop sides.

Illustrations of all these wagons appear in entries on this Blog below.

To order while stocks last contact Pete on...


Mobile...07342 637 813

Home... 017687 71302


Jones 4-plank open wagon completed with commercially available fittings and a few bits cut from n/s strip.


Friday, 19 November 2021

Lochgorm Tank No.16/49

Lochgorm Tank No.49 running with a fish truck on my track in the studio. There are four points and crossings to negotiate in a run of 16ft, which provides a pointer to how the engine will perform when a return to normality allows a visit to the CDOGG layout in Carlisle. The engine has been built without the aid of a kit, though using many castings from Laurie Griffin. Wheels are from Slater's, with my own design of etched wheel overlays. Motive power is provided by an M1824 motor with flywheel, mounted in an ABCgears Mini Gooch gearbox.

The livery is plain unlined Drummond II which was introduced on the Highland in 1902. My model depicts No.49 c.1910 when a rear bunker was added. I mixed the Highland green myself as Precision Paints no longer carry stock of  their own version of the colour. The transfers are Guilplates and again are no longer available, they are Methfix and have no carrier film, which can be a problem with those available from Fox.

The fish truck seen in the video is made from my own cast resin sides and ends, the model being completed from commercially available bits and pieces and a few parts cut from nickle-silver sheet.

The sand boxes, which sit on the footplate beside the smokebox, are my own w/m castings, the sanding  mechanism was contrived from rod, tube, washers and n/s sheet. The right hand forward bunker carries a handrail, presumably the bunker had a hinged lid and the handrail acted as a handle. Some photos of these engines show the bunker open with the lid in a vertical position.

The domed roof of these engines is a challenge, I made it from four equal triangular segments, soldered onto a voided rectangular base, to which I added a surround from 1mm right-angle section brass.

Cab interior showing the forward coal bunker still in use after the rear one was fitted. I think there should be a driver's brake valve in there somewhere too. Reversing lever and boiler backhead scratch-built with fittings modified from LGM castings.

Cab interior showing the coal hole and the brake stanchion. The corner boxes may have originally been sand boxes though by 1910 no longer used. Shovel and oil can are my own castings.

Salter safety valves, showing the manner in which they were fitted to projecting lugs on the base of dome. Also in view is the tube which leads inside to the pressure gauge.

A driver and fireman from Invertrain's  "Heroes of the Footplate" range help bring the engine to life.

The poses of the crew help make the most of the limited space available in the cab. Note the protective wooden plank and mesh covering to the rear windows. 

Thursday, 7 October 2021

A Tender in Search of a Loco.

My model of an early Highland Railway tender was built using as a starting point an etched sheet of nickle silver parts, provided by John Percival of Walsworth Models which, with some revision, will be issued under this label as a kit. The tender is much in evidence in early photos of Small and Medium Goods engines and of the Glenbarry class. These locomotive classes were all rebuilt and upgraded by Mr. Jones in the later years of the C19 and the tender similarly underwent changes, in particular the braking system was modernised; the most noticeable feature of the changes was the replacement of the old wooden brake blocks with metal brakes and my model includes the features of the rebuilt version of the tender. There are no kits in 7mm scale of any appropriate locomotive to run with this tender and I know of no plans to remedy this omission. For my part I have an "18" class, Small Goods, in rebuilt form, in the early stages of construction in my studio, this will be no. 27, built in 1863, which survived as the last of her class until 1923. 

The design of the tender is derived from earlier HR four-wheeled ones and owes a debt to LNWR practice. The buffers are from Slater's, revised and altered to self-contained ones. Note that the tank is the full-width of the tender, with platforms, which sit on the frames, front and rear. 

Most of the castings used to complete the model are from the Laurie Griffin range, Laurie produces a list of useful parts for a Small Goods building project. The white metal springs and tender-top tool boxes are my own castings. The water filler will be replaced by an LGM casting of a more appropriate Jones design. 

I used a drawing of a Jones "Loch" tender for the details of the brake cylinder, pull rods and linkages beneath the tender.   

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Drummond Drop-Side Fish Wagon, Resin Sides and Ends.

Pete's latest Aids to Scratch Building have just arrived from the casting workshop and they look just as crisp and well detailed as usual. These latest additions to the Highland Railway range are sides and ends for a Drummond open fish truck with drop sides, based on the drawing on page 139 of Peter Tatlow's "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons", which you will need as reference to complete the model. The additional parts needed are available from the trade, so in effect you're creating your own multi-media kit and all the components are your own preferences. Some parts, such as the brake lever and handles, can be simply cut from n/s sheet or in the case of the underslung vacuum cylinder, built up from metal tube, sheet and rod. You might find a few parts in your spares box too, I found some etched brakes and hangers which saved me cutting them out of sheet as there are eight of them needed for this wagon. As these fish wagons were designed to run in passenger trains the braking arrangements, as can be seen in the accompanying photo, were more complex than on a simple open goods wagon, which gives these wagons much added interest. 

 I have not come across a picture of a Drummond fish wagon in Highland Railway livery so can only show one in LMS days. In earlier times, as HR No.1867, the wagon would have carried Highland green livery with yellow lettering. (DLG Hunter)

Aids to Scratch-Building, sides and ends for a Drummond Fish truck.

The parts are available right now as detailed below...

Resin sides and ends £20.00 per set, plus postage at cost £1.29 (UK)

If you buy 2 sets then they're post free.

Buy three or more and there is a discount of 10%.

You can email, 'phone or message on...

017687 71302

07342 637 813

Suggested parts and suppliers...

Wheels: Slaters' 3ft 7" Mansell disc coach ref. 7124

Buffers: HR Short Web. Invertrain

Springs: Slater's Plastikard

W-irons and brakes: Slater's Plastikard ref: 71551

Axleboxes: Invertrain

Couplings: CPL Models or LGM 9-008

Safety Chains & Hooks: LGM 9-006

Brake Cross Trees x 4: LGM 36-006

Vacuum Pipes: LGM 32-010 or 62C Models: LWB113

Westinghouse Pipes: 62C Models: LWB108 

Structural Members: Plastruct

Floor & Deck Planking: Slater's Plastikard

There are tongues and grooves on the wagon corners to assist assembly, so I assembled the sides and ends dry, then ran ZAP Medium glue inside the corners. When dry and firm I dropped a floor cut from 1mm Plastikard into place between the sides. When all was set firm I found there was a slight twist to the structure which I corrected in a bowl of warm water, all is square and solid now so I will add structural bracing next under the floor using Plastruct Styrene Strip 2.5 x 6.4mm (90779).

Sides and ends assembled with Plastikard floor

The Plastruct beams under the floor add structural strength, they are not intended to be prototypical.

Brake Cylinder and linkages in position.

As my scrap box was deficient in useful parts I made the brake cylinder and linkages from brass tube,  sheet and rod as a separate module, on a small base of its own, which will glue into place later. The w-irons and wheels will be fitted next then the rest of the brake mechanism. 

The following pictures show the completed wagon underside, all components were sourced as suggested above. The etched clasp brakes, all eight of them, came from my scrap box and I do not know their provenance. I mounted them on 0.45 n/s sheet, to make them a respectable thickness, then cut them out, repositioning the brake shoe at the same time to fit their situation. The vertical brake legs were soldered onto a piece of "L" shaped brass so they could be glued in place on the wagon bed. Slaters offer a possible solution to the w-irons, brake cross-trees and the clasp brakes with their... 
Van Type 3' 7" Dia. Wheels, Compensating Etched W-Irons Ref: 71551.
I've not used this etch yet, though I intend to do so when I build a second example of the truck, I think it will provide the answer to most of the parts below the solebar, though not the cylinder and cross-shaft assembly.

Underside complete


Here you can see how I attached the vacuum and Westinghouse brake pipes to the wagon. The pipes are extended under the wagon and soldered to "L" shaped supports glued to the wagon bed. 

Close-up of the hand brake arrangement and the under-slung vacuum cylinder

Drummond Fish Truck complete. 

I used Phoenix P725 HR Mid Green (1875) with a liberal addition of matt black as the basic colour of the truck. Transfers are HMRS sheet 20 Methfix and Modelmaster 7PCS 1 water-slide, which are available from the HRSoc. A light spray with a dilute weathering mix completed the job. 
Note that Phoenix P727 HR Dark Green (1885-1912), is no longer available, I think the earlier green mixed with black achieves the same colour. I have not made a number plate for the truck as these vehicles do not appear to have carried them.